Pylaros (Πύλαρος) is one of the municipalities on the Ionian island of Kefalonia (κεφαλονιά). The seat of the municipality is Agia Effimia.
In the north Pylaros borders on the municipality of Erissos, and on the frontier lies Kalo Mountain (901m) and Cape Agriosyko. In the south it borders on the municipalities of Kranaia and Sami, and on the frontier lies the mountain Agia Dynati (1131m). Pylaros forms a valley between the two mountains, and through it flows the river Xeropotamos. The valley of Pylaros is covered by forests, and contains many rare species of fauna.
To the east lies the bay of Agia Effimia, and to the west it borders on the municipality of Paliki. At the western frontier is the tableland of Falari and the Gulf of Myrtos. The beach at Myrtos has been voted the best Greek beach on eleven occasions, and is considered one of the best in the world.
The municipality is composed of 24 villages:
The economy of the municipality is based on tourism and dairy farming. In the tablelands of Kalo Mountain, and at the tableland of Falari the main industry is stock-breeding and cheese-making. In bygone days, many of the inhabitants of Pylaros were cheese-makers, and they travelled to Italy and Balkans to make cheese. It is sometimes said that in Falari they produce the best Greek Feta cheese.
Agriculture is well-developed in regions next to Agia Effimia, but tourism is the most important source of income. In the summer, the region is full of tourists from all over the world, and most of them go to the famous beach at Myrtos. There are hotels, rooms to let, cafes, taverns and shops with souvenirs. In 19th century, many Pylarians were sailors, shipowners and merchants: they had many ships, and they travelled all over the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. But few people are involved in these trades today.
Pylaros has had a long and significant history, and even the name is ancient. It is thought that the name originates from the ancient words πύλη ("gate") and άρω ("pick up") that is to say "pick up the gates", because Pylaros is between two "gates": the bays of Agia Efimia and Myrtos. The first historical indications we have are from the Mycenean age. Mycenean vases and huge walls from ancient fortifications have been discovered in Karousata, Logarata and Agia Effimia.
According to a theory at Agia Dynati there was a sanctuary, because of her shape (resemble to a rock covered with swadding-clothes) it was considered to be the rock that Rea gave Kronos to eat, from don't eat the next of her childs, Zeus. When Zeus gained power, he obliged Kronos to throw the rock in the site of Agia Dynati. At the ancient years, Pylaros must be inhabitated, but remains haven't been discovered yet.
At Roman years, Pylaros, should be a region of amusement from Roman officials, which is proved by the Roman villa discovered in Agia Efimia. At Byzantine years, Pylaros owned to the "Thema of Kefalonia", one of the perfectures of the Byzantine Empire. The most ancient monastery in Pylaros, the Moni of Panagia Thematon (from the word "Thema") and the undiscovered monastery of Agios Polatos, may be built these years.
The years of Venetian occupation, probably they have been built the first modern villages (Anomeria, Markata, Karousata, Antypata) and some families (Karousoi, Antypes) have been registered to the "Libro d΄ Oro". At the years of English occupation, Pylaros has been a centre of great rebelions against the English.
At World War II, Pylarians have paricipated to the Greek-Italian war of 1940, the National Resistance and the Greek Civil War. At Pylaros, as all over Kefalonia, lot of Italians have been massacred by the Germans at the famous "Massacre of the Division Acqui", known from the film "Captain Corellis Mandolin". Lots of Italians have been murdered at the site "Madria tou Lala", at Falari.
At the Greek Civil War some Pylarians have been members of the communist "Democratic Army" and they fought against the National Army. It is important to say that Pylarians were two of the last captains of the Democratic Army all over the Greece, Matthaios Kouloubis and Ilias Kougianos who have been murdered at September 1949. (Kefalonia΄s Democratic Army was the last team of communist soldiers in action until December 1949).
Finally at 1953, Pylaros, have been damaged from the terrible earthquakes that shaked the Ionian Islands. Some days later, the injured inhabitants have been visited by the King George II, who have come for help them.
Marinos Antypas (1873-1907) was one of the first Greek Socialists. He started off in Kefalonia, but later moved to Thessaly where he incited farmers against their landowners, which resulted in his murder in 1907. His example helped inspire the Great Agrarian Revolution at Kileler in 1910.
Evangelis Potamianos was fighter in the Greek Revolution of 1821.
Pylaris contains a number of significant historical monuments:
Pylarians have many traditions and customs. In the summer each village holds a religious festival or panigiri dedicated to a particular saint. Pylaria is the origin of one of the two traditional dances of Kefalonia, the Divaratikos. Pylarian is also known for its poetry, which is characteristically sarcastic.
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